How to Take Care of Your Surfboard

Surfboards can last for years or a few months, if you're not careful
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Surfing is not a sport reserved for the wealthiest people, but that is after you buy the board. A good mid-range sled would cost around $500 to $700; pro boards go for $700 and more. So after making the smart investment into buying a quality surfboard, you have to know how to take care of it.

They can last for years, if you keep in mind that they are not indestructible and have to be treated right. If you’re using the surfboard, the sun, waves and salt will eventually damage it. The best you can do is delay the inevitable for as long as you can.

The good news is the increasing the life expectancy of the board is easier than you may think.  

Sun damage

Prolonged exposure to the sun is one of the most common mistakes new surfers make, Mike Reinhardt from Local Surf School, says. “If it’s been in the sun for too long, then the foam, which is usually white, becomes yellowish.” Also, the wax will keep melting. As soon as you’re done riding, don’t be lazy and put the board in its bag or at least under some kind of shade. “It typically takes years to start yellowing, but if you’re careless, it can take a year.”

Don’t keep it in a car

The problem is that it gets too hot, Reinhardt says. “If the board is consistently inside, it will get damaged,” he adds. In general, avoid heat and extreme change in temperate like from cold water to roasting car. The board can delaminate.

Don’t put the board with wax-side upwards

“Even after 60 seconds, the board becomes sticky and the waxing can be melting,” Reinhardt says. The wind is likely to blow sand on top of it and then the board “turns into a sandpaper.” It then has no grip and you’ll have to re-do the waxing, he adds.

Know how big your board is

Reinhardt says he has seen a lot of people holding a board but not being aware of how far it extends. "It usually goes pretty far behind." Damage can occur as you move around and, possibly, slam the board into hard surfaces.

Keep it in a surfboard bag

“A lot of things can happen when transporting a board,” he adds. That’s why the best way to do it is by putting it in a surfboard bag because it offers a lot of protection.

Avoid having the boards stick out if you put them in a car. If it must be on top of a vehicle, always put the board inside a bag. “The straps can put a lot of pressure on the board which can make the dings [if there are any already] a lot worse.”

Clean the board after riding

You have to get the salt off the board because it will cause damage after time by deteriorating the resin on your board. Rinse with tap water after use.

Take off all wax once a month

“It’s a good habit to take all wax off and put new wax every once in a while,” Reinhardt says. “The kind of wax depends on water and weather, so you certainly have to change it every season,” he adds. Otherwise, it gets dirty, sand gets in it and it loses traction.

Clean the bottom

You should have the bottom very clean so the board is a lot more hydro-dynamic, Reinhardt says. There has to be no dirt or wax on the bottom for optimal performance.

Wrap leash around board

You don’t want the leash to drag against the pavement, Reinhardt says. Wrap it around the board for travel and storage. The more it drags, the less it works when you’re surfing.

Watch out for dings

The most obvious sign that you’re not taking care of your surfboard is dings. There are two types, Reinhardt says: Pressure and puncture dings. Pressure dings are small ones that are relatively common. They happen when the fiberglass is pushed in to create a dent. Puncture dings are more serious because the fiberglass has been cracked. “Then water gets in freely and the more water is in the board, the heavier it gets and the harder becomes to ride,” Reinhardt says. Don’t keep riding  if that's the case. Get out of the water and check for cracks. Some dings can be fixed with bit of solar resin but others are more severe.

More readings: 

10 Best Surf Towns in the World

The World’s Best Beaches for Big Wave Surfing

3 Surfer-Tested Sunscreens That Won't Wash Away

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